Egyptian promoted to sumo’s top division


Osunaarashi was named as the first wrestler from Africa to enter the elite makuuchi division when the sumo rankings were announced on Monday for the upcoming Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

The 21-year-old Egyptian, whose real name is Abdelrahman Ahmed Shaalan, went 10-5 in his two tournaments at the juryo level and will wrestle as a 15th-ranked maegashira when the 15-day tournament begins at Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Nov. 10. Since his March 2012 debut, Osunaarashi has needed 10 tournaments to reach the top division, the second fewest after maegashira Jokoryu.

At the top of the makuuchi mountain, Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho will be going for his 28th career championship after going 14-1 in September. His total currently trails only Chiyonofuji’s 31 titles and the legendary Taiho’s 32. Hakuho’s hard-pressed rival, compatriot and fellow yokozuna Harumafuji, is coming off a 10-5 record in which he was dogged by injuries.

Kotooshu is in danger of losing his ozeki ranking if he fails to win a majority of his bouts in Fukuoka. The Bulgarian hurt his hamstring on the fifth day of the Autumn Basho and was forced to sit out starting from the eighth day. This will be his seventh tournament as a kadoban ozeki.

After the ozeki quartet of Kotooshu, Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku and Kakuryu, Goeido moves from west sekiwake to the more prestigious east side, while Tochiozan has been bumped back to sekiwake for the first time since July 2012 after going 8-7 in September as a komusubi.

For Goeido, it is his 10th straight tournament at sekiwake.

Shohozan and Okinoumi complete the sanyaku ranks in the two komusubi slots.